The 2014 World Cup Ads – ‘Group of Death’

June 18, 2014

We all love it when a major event rolls around and brands bring out incredible content that we get to consume, discuss and, most of all, sit back and enjoy.

Here at The Lab however we couldn’t decide on our favourite World Cup ad… so we have chosen three that we love. Daniel, Tom and Mikhail all had differing opinions and have been told to fight for their ad below.

Have a watch, have a read and then cast your vote.

AD CHOSEN BY MIKHAILSpot:  Beats by Dre – The Game Before The Game

Agency: R/GA New York

What the ad taps into culturally…
For me, this ad humanises our most idolised sports stars. It highlights their imperfections and need for love and support through letting us into their rituals and superstitions. It mirrors the rituals they depend on in the dressing room to the raw gritty nature of ‘real life’.

Key tension it resolves
The world is a rough place, as the lyrics perfectly sum up in the ad.

“Won’t you follow me, into the jungle... There ain’t no god on the streets... The heart of the jungle.”

The pressure facing us in everyday life is being exponentially ramped up, as we are once again being told we have to make our own way to earn a living. We all need support and a set of armour to push through the everyday battles we face.

What it says about the brand
Beats By Dre is your armour for war, it prepares you for whatever challenges or pressure you may face. It is your game before the game.

Why I love it
Not only is the ad/pseudo music video visually stunning, but as a football fan the authentic connection established with the star of the ad can’t be overlooked. The pressure Neymar Santos Jr. faces this World Cup is almost unheard of in this day and age. So for the ad to highlight his vulnerabilities instead of glorifying his success really taps into our desire for a deeper connection with celebrity perfectly.


Spot: Nike – The Last Game

Agency: W+K

What the ad taps into culturally

I must say, the guys over at W+K have done it once again. Why? In this particular case, I think what this piece does so very well is connect the vibrance and greatness of soccer with people's vulnerabilities and tensions around the world becoming a seemingly more automated and sterile.

Key tension it resolves
Well, there's no doubt that the mid term vulnerability of many traditional roles is becoming more apparent to us as time goes on. Just the other day, The Guardian published a piece on the automation of technical knowledge workers and earlier this year, this very point was made at SXSW by Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen when discussing the digital future. As such, people are being forced to shift their outlook and aspirations in life.

What it says about the brand
Rather than casting this vulnerability to people in a negative/reactive light, for some time now, western civilisation in particular has championed individualisation, and turned that frown upside down by convincing people that their future is largely their own responsibility, and that indeed if one works hard enough 'Anything is Possible'. Nike's risk everything certainly taps into this, and reinforces the myth that to live a vibrant and exciting life, one must push the boundaries. It reminds us that it is not the soccer players' skill that makes them achieve exceptional feats, but it is their risk taking and commitment to play the game authentically on their own terms. 

Why I love it
By the end of the piece, we feel that soccer, in many ways, reflects the game of life, as only through taking risks and living authentically, do we protect ourselves from being made obsolete by the rapidly changing world around us.


Spot:  ESPN - Live From Brazil

Agency:  Scott Duncan Films

What the ad taps into culturally
Through seamless transitions of past World Cup games and commentaries this ad taps into the rich historical underpinnings and heritage of the World Cup. This coupled with cuts to Brazilian children playing in the street and the vibrant culture of Brazil highlights the extent to which Soccer is embedded in the Brazilian culture.

Key tension it resolves
By adopting back-to-basics approach, emphasising Brazil's passionate love for the history of the game, our worries about Brazil not being prepared for the World Cup are resolved. As a nation with such a strong love for the game, unified in its history, Brazil will undoubtedly be organised. 

What it says about the brand
ESPN’s portrayal of the rich heritage of the World Cup demonstrate that they too are grounded in its history, and will thereby provide us with flawless broadcasting. Moreover, they will provide with interesting insights into the vibrant culture of Brazil.

Why I love it
The use of the World Cups exciting and rich heritage drums up warm nostalgic memories and succeeds in unify people through a mutual love for the game. This removes all negative stigma surrounding the world cup and reminds us what’s important, to help build and pass on this beautiful heritage to future generations.


Now that the Labsters have had their say, it's your turn!